We Are Many.

The artists in this blog  have  all been  fostered adopted or in children’s homes.  I know them all.  Their success, I believe,  is in spite of what happened to them and not because of it.   So let’s  look over the  past fifty days to see what they’ve been up to.
Alex Wheatle MBE  (pic) winner of 2016 Guardians Children’s Fiction Prize.  The adaptation of his early   book “Brixton Baird” was performed by  Big House Theatre in Brixton Rock.  Sophie Willen’s hit Edinburgh show  On The Record  is selling out theaters across the country and will soon (April 21st)  be at Soho theatre.    Louise Wallwein performed her hit one person show  GLUE  in Liverpool recently.  Glue has been adapted into a BBC Radio 4 play to be broadcast later this year. The director is brilliant too.  The extraordinary actor  Samantha Morton (pic above) is presently starring in ITV’s  Harlot.

Allan Jenkins is teh editor of  Observer Food Monthly . His briliant book Plot 29 blossomed amongst  brilliant reviews.    A couple of weeks ago  I gave the John Lennon Memorial Lecture  at John Moores University in Liveroool. John Lennon was fostered.  Yoko Ono gives bursaries to  care leavers.      Deborah Frances White presents her hilarious and brilliant podcasts Global Pillage and Guilty feminist achieving  Millions of downloads in 2017.  My stylist (and friend) is Subrina Kidd.   Subrina styles the hair of  Jennifer Hudson (photograph below)  at the hit TV show The Voice. 


Under the tutelege of Hudson The Voice was won by  Mo Adeniran.  (Pic below).

This is just a scratch on the surface of the past fifty days.  My adaptation of Benjamin Zephaniah’s hit  novel Refugee Boy opens at Chickenshed Theatre in London on 19th April.    Refugee Boy  is about a young Ethiopian Eritrean foster child. And Jackie Kay (pic below) is Chancellor of Salford University.

I am writing this blog for the record.  The days of being ashamed of being  fostered, in children’s homes or  adopted are coming to an end. We’ve a long way to go.  We don’t only talk about our experiences of care. We are good at what we do.   We are driven.  We are many.

18 thoughts on “We Are Many.

  1. You are right Lemn, and I was just thinking of you when your email popped into my inbox. How your poetic voice has ben leading us all and changing the narrative one word at a time. We are many and we’re just at the beginning of something amazing. #CareLeaversRock

  2. You have a voice …and moreso ..people listen and even better people believe in you …and finaly themselved

      • I still like to think and hope i make a diffrence, even when i was just delivering royal mail, i like to think just a smile or a good morning and closing a gate made a difference to someone ..especially housebound people i could be the only person they saw all day (every day), but …its only a smile but it made two people happy for a fleeying moment.
        I am also proud of you and where you came from and achieved so much
        Bless you

        • I believe that the smile in the morning and the closing of the gate is as importnat and as relevant and as important as any of my acheivements. I genuinly do. it si the collection of the seemingly small moments that makes the biggest difference.

  3. Careleavers can achieve anything given the support other young people simply take for granted and the removal of the stigma and discrimination that an uncaring Society heaps on already multiply misadvantaged children. We don’t survive care – we graduate from it

    • Part of the nature of family is The power of suggestion… “When are you getting married” or “when are you gong to university” or “when are you going to grow up”. These three examples can drive a child or young adult to distraction. They are love in practice. In lieu of “love in practise” the child in care is surrounded by institutions built to solve a problem and there’s the rub. A successful adult who has been in care is a father, a mother, a window cleaner, a plumber or a poet like me. The most important measure for success is how we feel about ourselves. And THAT is a different blog altogether.

  4. What a collection of dudes!
    There is something about growing up in an environment where you are automatically asked to be with strangers and not with family. It grows a different kind of flexibility, resilience, vulnerability, independence, sensitivity, skill, network. So much can be gained from loss. This is a build on today’s conversation ofcourse. Lemn you are a leading light. Thank you more than you know.

    • Thanks Sarah, I unerstand what you are saying but…. I don’t believe they have gained from loss. I think loss has gained from them.

  5. Yes we are. I’m so proud of where I come from. Proud to call myself a Londoner, proud to celebrate the diversity of my blood and all the places it has run through through the generations, proud of the South London estate that started to open up my eyes to the world as a child, proud of the years I spent in care and the faded scars that left behind, put proudest of the healing that has followed. You are so right Lemn when you once talked about not being your scars, but your healing. I’m proud that from the healing has come the blossoming. I’m proud of the heart and mind that this journey has developed. I’m not perfect, but I’m no longer ashamed about growing up in care. For years I was. It was the ultimate stain, but goodness knows now it is the opposite. It was once everything, but now it is just part of something. When I look at these people here who have experienced care I’m so proud, but I’m just as proud of those that also live the normal lives. That slip into the sea of faces of the everyday. Lemn your words are so so important. What a voice. Keep using it because you paint the most beautiful pictures with them and they are so so important. Take care pal. x

    • Thanks man. It was the one element I missed in this blog. That of the plumber, the teacher, the mother, the father. To me these are as successful as anyone in this blog. Thanks for the reminder of why comments (below a blog) are so important.

  6. Pingback: PhD Block? | Orphans & Care Leavers in Fiction

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